Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: March 31, 2022

Just when things are starting to feel sort of “normal” in terms of the pandemic, along comes a smack-in-the-face reminder that things are certainly NOT normal—and won’t be for quite some time.

Astute readers may think that paragraph sounds familiar … and that’s because it’s the exact same lede I had in the Nov. 15 Indy Digest. The smack-in-the face reminder I was referencing at the time was the postponement of CVRep’s production of Bakersfield Mist due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Today’s smack in the face doesn’t have to do with anyone getting the disease. Instead, it has to do with how the disease has messed up our economy.

One of the valley’s most popular charity events, AAP-Food Samaritans’ Evening Under the Stars, was slated to make its return on April 30, after the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 events. Today, however, AAP Food Samaritans announced the 2022 event would not be happening after all.

“It was to be held April 30 at the O’Donnell Golf Club,” wrote Mark Anton, AAP Food Samaritans’ CEO and executive director, wrote in a note to sponsors and ticket-holders. “Everyone had hoped that this would be the year to bring it back after the cancelations due to COVID for the last two years.

“The cumulative effects of supply chain issues, labor shortages, food cost increases, and other factors have driven the expenses for the event into the stratosphere. The catering alone for our traditional formal seated dinner has risen a staggering 43%, and all of our other costs have risen similarly. We analyzed every aspect of the event to try and find ways to deliver the quality that our guests have come to expect while reigning in costs, and sadly it’s just not possible. We simply cannot in good conscience put on an event—even one that is so beloved in the community and so important to recognize our donors, partners, volunteers, and the community as a whole—if it results in a loss which would then reduce the level of support that we are able to provide to our clients who are battling food insecurity issues. And, as you know prices at the grocery store have been skyrocketing, so the need for our program is increasing dramatically. Canceling, though regrettable, is the responsible thing to do.”

My thoughts go out to all of the people involved with Evening Under the Stars. Cancelling an event many months in the making like this is heartbreaking.

Meanwhile, I am going to keep that opening paragraph handy. I have no doubt it’ll be useful over and over again in the coming months.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

Restaurant News Bites: Dining Out for Life Returns; Sushi Kawa Opens at The River; and Much More!

By Charles Drabkin

March 29, 2022

The latest Coachella Valley (and beyond) restaurant news, including a Boba Tea explosion; new sourdough and housemade veggie burgers in Yucca Valley; and more!

One Last Time: The Dinah Shore-Nabisco-Kraft-ANA Inspiration-Chevron Championship Gets Under Way at Mission Hills

By Kevin Fitzgerald

March 31, 2022

The women’s golf tournament once known as the Dinah Shore is happening one last time in Rancho Mirage.

Fresh Retro: The Cactus Blossoms Era-Crossing, Genre-Fusing Harmonies to Stagecoach

By Matt King

March 30, 2022

Stagecoach returnee the Cactus Blossoms in February released One Day, their third studio album.

The Venue Report, April 2022: Chris Rock, Brian McKnight, Lemonheads—and More!

By Matt King

March 31, 2022

A sampling of the entertainment offerings in the Coachella Valley in April.

April Astronomy: The Month Brings Ramadan, a Meteor Shower, and a Gathering of Planets in the Southeast

By Robert Victor

March 31, 2022

A preview of what the skies will look like in April 2022.

The Lucky 13; Hayden James, Producer and DJ, Performing at Coachella.

By Matt King

March 29, 2022

Learn a little about Coachella DJ Hayden James.

The Weekly Independent Comics Page for March 31, 2022!

By Staff

March 31, 2022

Topics touched upon within this week’s comics page include diaries, Russian troll bots, digging for grubs, Twitter—and much more!

More News

The Independent has reported on the efforts by valley cities to curtail or even ban short-term rentals like AirBnBs and the like … with Palm Springs being a notable exception. However, the tide may now be starting to turn against STRs in Palm Springs, too. Our friends at the Palm Springs Post report: “Acknowledging that any talk of a moratorium might cause a rush of new applications for short-term vacation rental permits but that changes in rules governing them are needed, the Palm Springs City Council Tuesday evening directed city staff to move forward with community outreach and additional research that could take months. While that work is completed, permits will continue to be processed. … Of particular concern to Council members is the concentration of vacation rentals in neighborhoods traditionally comprised of middle-class families and the proliferation of permit holders who do not have roots, or plan to have them, in the city. Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner, who grew up in Palm Springs, recalled that Desert Park Estates was once home to most of her classmates’ families, but ‘it is full of vacation rentals now.’ Data provided by city staff, and reviewed by council members prior to the study session, shows 21% of the homes in the neighborhood off North Sunrise Way are currently licensed short-term vacation rentals.”

Our partners at CalMatters say that a recent vote by the state’s reparations task force was contentious and controversial: “After more than six hours of debate Tuesday, California’s reparations task force voted that only Black Californians who can prove a direct lineage to enslaved ancestors will be eligible for the statewide—and first-in-the nation—initiative to address the harms and enduring legacy of slavery. The nine-member task force voted 5-4 in favor of defining eligibility for reparations based on lineage ‘determined by an individual being an African American descendant of a chattel enslaved person or the descendant of a free Black person living in the US prior to the end of the 19th century,’ the motion read. An earlier amendment to the motion pushed for a broader definition of eligibility that would have included all 2.6 million African Americans in California, with ‘special consideration’ for those with direct lineage to enslaved persons. That amendment failed. Two years ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation giving ‘special consideration’ to Black Americans who are direct descendants to enslaved people. … While the scope of reparations will be determined in the coming months, many task force members said they expect cash payments to be one part of the proposal as well as a formal apology. The task force said this eligibility determination will help economists tasked with quantifying the amount of reparations owed.”

The National Guard has been helping out FIND Food Bank for two years—but the mission is finally coming to an end. From a news release: “On March 31, the National Guard officially ends its two-year mission at FIND Food Bank. Initially deployed in March 2020 to assist food banks across the country during a historic hunger crisis and dire volunteer shortage following the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, the guard remained a vital part of FIND’s response to the prolonged economic crisis. At the pandemic’s peak, 30 guard members reported to FIND’s warehouse to help sort, pack, and equitably distribute food supplies to 190,000 people in need of food assistance, many for the first time. The guard helped FIND double its distribution of healthy foods into the community from 12 million pounds before the pandemic to 24 million pounds annually in 2020 and 2021. They assumed a workforce role after FIND lost over 75% of its volunteers to stay-at-home orders. FIND’s volunteers pre-pandemic was equivalent to at least 8 full-time staff members.” The news release noted that guard members served more than a million hours at FIND Food Bank.

The pandemic, in many ways, rattled the country’s heath system … and paradoxically, the end of the pandemic could end up doing the same. The Associated Press says: “When the end of the COVID-19 pandemic comes, it could create major disruptions for a cumbersome U.S. health care system made more generous, flexible and up-to-date technologically through a raft of temporary emergency measures. Winding down those policies could begin as early as the summer. That could force an estimated 15 million Medicaid recipients to find new sources of coverage, require congressional action to preserve broad telehealth access for Medicare enrollees, and scramble special COVID-19 rules and payment policies for hospitals, doctors and insurers. There are also questions about how emergency use approvals for COVID-19 treatments will be handled. The array of issues is tied to the coronavirus public health emergency first declared more than two years ago and periodically renewed since then. It’s set to end April 16 and the expectation is that the Biden administration will extend it through mid-July. Some would like a longer off-ramp.”

• Regular readers know I’ve bemoaned the fact that we’ve become desensitized to the massive numbers of illnesses and deaths caused by SARS-CoV-2. However, two neuroscientists, writing for The Conversation, notes that we aren’t really sensitized to large numbers in the first place: “Humans—as well as many animals including fish, birds and monkeys—show rudimentary numerical abilities shortly after birth. Infants, adults and even rats find it easier to distinguish between relatively small numbers than larger ones. The difference between 2 and 5 is much easier to visualize than the difference between 62 and 65, despite the fact that both number sets differ by only 3. The brain is optimized to recognize small quantities because smaller numbers are what people tend to interact with most on a daily basis. Research has shown that when presented with different numbers of dots, both children and adults can intuitively and rapidly recognize quantities less than three or four. Beyond that, people have to count, and as the numbers get higher, intuitive understanding is replaced by abstract concepts of large, individual numbers. This bias toward smaller numbers even plays out day to day in the grocery store. When researchers asked shoppers in a checkout line to estimate the total cost of their purchase, people reliably named a lower price than the actual amount.”

• Just a friendly reminder that just because an organization touts itself as “grassroots” or “independent,” such is not always the case. CNBC tells the story of the Connected Commerce Council, or 3C, which claimed various small businesses as members … except that the owners of those small businesses had never heard of 3C. “The council, which pitches itself as a grassroots movement representing small business owners, is actually a well-financed advocacy group funded by tech heavy hitters Google and Amazon. The two tech companies are listed as ‘partners’ on the organization’s website. They are also currently the council’s sole financial support, 3C spokesman Chris Grimm confirmed to CNBC. Lobbying watchdog group the Campaign for Accountability called 3C an ‘Astroturf’ lobbying organization, thanks to the tech giants’ financial support. That’s a bit of Washington slang for a group that claims to represent grassroots entities, but in reality serves as an advocate for big industry. It’s a tactic used in Washington to push for specific legislative or regulatory goals using the sympathetic face of mom and pop organizations.”

And finally … if you drive a Honda, you should probably know your keyless entry and starting system could be hacked. The Hacker News reports: “A duo of researchers has released a proof-of-concept demonstrating the ability for a malicious actor to remote lock, unlock, and even start Honda and Acura vehicles by means of what’s called a replay attack. The attack is made possible, thanks to a vulnerability in its remote keyless system … that affects Honda Civic LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, Si, and Type R models manufactured between 2016 and 2020. … The underlying issue is that the remote key fob on the affected Honda vehicles transmits the same, unencrypted radio frequency signal (433.215MHz) to the car, effectively enabling an adversary to intercept and replay the request at a later time to wirelessly start the engine as well as lock and unlock the doors.” Oops!

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Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...